Colorado Gun Fighter received approval for use by review from the Bayfield Planning Commission on Tuesday to open a gun shop and modular gun range in Bayfield.
"We want the sales tax revenue from the store to support Bayfield," said Dawn Fahrion, who currently operates the gun store in Vallecito with her husband, JJ Rouanzoin, at Pine River Lodge. "We want to increase our teaching and educating in the community."
The couple plans to bring in a modular gun range, which is basically a shipping container fortified with three-quarter inch steel plates, behind their store. The store and gun range will be located next to the Grocery Store on Colorado Avenue. A range officer will oversee all shooting inside the range.
While people standing at nearby Community Bank of Colorado will hear popping sounds, the decibel levels will be lower than people talking outside, Rouanzoin said.
A locked two-door access means that only paying customers can enter the shooting range.
"I own some big-caliber guns, and none of them will go through this thing," Rouanzoin said of the reinforced metal walls.
A few commissioners had concerns about a shipping container sitting in the middle of the lot.
They asked if fencing and trees and shrubs could be considered, and the couple said they can work on that.
"It's a classy looking container, but it is a container," Rouanzoin said, noting that the location is currently an empty field.
"It's a nasty lot," Commissioner Tish Nelson said. She suggested working with the Pine River Garden Club to see if members have ideas on improving the landscaping.
She also asked if store owners and employees can work on suicide prevention.
Rouanzoin said they already have information on suicide prevention resources in their store, and if any employee has reservations about selling a gun, "we'll refuse the sale."
As an officer for the Durango Police Department, he said he frequently deals with suicidal situations. "It's something that hits home to me."
About 30 people attended Tuesday night's commission meeting, mostly in support of the gun store and range. Two residents, Jerry Sutherlin and Steve Salka, spoke in favor of the shop and owners. One commissioner asked the audience how many of them have concealed gun carry permits, and about half of the people in Bayfield Town Hall raised their hands.